Ayurveda describes winter season as one of the times in the year, where body has good strength and immunity. But a few precautions and lifestyle adjustments will make the winter all the more enjoyable.
Table of Contents
Winter As Per Ayurveda
- Hemantha Ritu (Winter season) – Margashira and Pushya – Mid November to Mid January
- Shishira Ritu (winter, dewy season) – Magha and Phalguna (Mid January – Mid March)
Dosha status during winter
- Before winter, Pitta Dosha will be aggravated.
- Hemanta – first half of winter – Pitta is decreasing.
- Shishira – second half of winter – due to excessive cold, Kapha starts slowly increasing.
- So, Pitta is going down to normalcy and later, Kapha dosha is increasing during winter.
Ashtanga Hrudaya Sutrasthana 3rd chapter
Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 6th chapter
Sushruta Samhita Sutrasthana 6th chapter
Variation in strength as per season
Sheete Agraym, vrushti gharme alpaM balaM madhyaM tu sheshayoho |
- Winter – Highest strength
- Summer and rainy seasons – Lowest strength
- Spring and Autumn – Medium strength.
Body strength and dominating qualities during cold seasons –
- The people are strong, digestive fire becomes powerful, because it gets obstructed from flowing outward due to external winter.
- Coldness leads to blockage of channels.
- Hotness opens up the channels.
- During winter, the body heat is not transferred out due to blockage of external channels (such as sweat glands), leading to increased inner fire – increased digestive fire (Agni).
Ayurvedic tips for winter season
Digestion strength is more:
During winter, the digestion strength is so much powerful that it is capable of digesting any food stuff irrespective of its heaviness and the quantity. This is explained with a simple concept. Digestion strength is compared to fire in Ayurveda. Because of weather, the body heat is not moving out of the body, hence, the fire within is ignited, leading to improved digestion strength.
Like fuel consumes the things that it comes into contact, if food is not timely available, digestive fire may consume the body tissues and cause emaciation of body tissues.
Hence, in this period, one should consume food predominant with sweet sour and salt tastes.
Eat Good And Healthy During Winter!
- This probably is the reason that most of the festivals fall during winter.
- Thanksgiving and Christmas
- Eid- E- Milad
Desired qualities in foods
Hence, you should take proper quantity of foods. If not, it affects the quality of Rasa Dhatu (nutritious fluid generated as a product of digestion) and this may lead to depleted Rasa dhatu (depleted nutrition.).
Foods that are sweet, salt and sour tastes are recommended during this period.
Whenever, a body tissue is depleted, Vata tends to increase. Hence, during winter, because of low food quantities, if Rasa dhatu gets depleted, this coupled with coldness of season, Vata Dosha gets imbalanced. (coldness is also a Vata quality.)
It may lead to symptoms like gastritis, bloating, abdominal colic pain, body ache, headache, joint pains etc.
Diet during winter
Warm water should be used for all washing and drinking purposes.
Oils, ghee, food with sour and salt taste,
Aquatic animals – (Audaka mamsa) – crab, fish, pearl oyster, Conch snail, etc.
Meat of animals from marshy place (Anupa mamsa) – buffalo meat, yak meat.
Meat with fat, wine, different fruit wines, cow milk and its products, sugarcane and its products, sesame oil, fresh grains are recommended.
Since the digestion power is high, heavy-to-digest food such as meat soup mixed with fats, meat of well nourished animals, wine prepared with jaggery, dilute wines should be had more.
Meat soup mixed with fats, meat of well nourished animals, wine prepared with jaggery, super-natent part of wine (Sura) should be had more.
Food prepared with wheat flour, black gram products of sugarcane and of milk, food prepared from freshly harvested corn, muscles, fat and edible oils should be partaken as food.
Ideal food qualities
Snigdha – oily – unctuous – oils and fats
Amla – sour and
Lavana – Salt.
Audaka mamsa – meat of the aquatic animals
Anupa mamsa – meat of animals from marshy place
Medya – meet with fat.
Bileshaya Mamsa – meat of burrow- dwelling animals and
Prasaha – animals which catch food by teeth, tear and eat
Madira – wine
Seedhu – fermented liquid prepared with ripened fruit should be consumed with honey.
Gorasa Vikruti – cow milk and dairy products
Ikshu Vikruti – sugarcane and its juice products like sugar
Vasa – fat of animals
Taila – sesame oil
Nava Odana – fresh rice and grains
Avoid fasting during winter
- During winter, if proper quantity of food is not taken, it affects the quality of Rasa Dhatu (nutritious fluid generated as a product of digestion).
- If Rasa Dhatu is decreased, it will decrease Kapha Dhatu and increase Vata imbalance.
- It may lead to symptoms like gastritis, bloating, abdominal colic pain, body ache, headache, joint pains etc.
- One should avoid food and drink which are light and are prone to Vata vitiation. One should not expose himself to cold wave.
- Excess spicy food, bitter and astringent foods
- Cow pea, excess peanut, excess ground nut, bengal gram, Chickpea
Vitamin D: Because there is scarcity of Vitamin D, due to lack of sunlight, food rich with Vitamin D is recommended – Salmon, Tuna, Cod liver oil, Fish, fortified cereals, oysters, fortified soy products, ham, dairy products, egg, mushroom, yogurt, cheese, orange juice, zuccini, tomato.
Massage and bath
Hot water usage: To counter the effect of winter, hot water bath and hot water for drinking are recommended.
Oil massage – is highly recommended. It relieves dry skin, improves blood circulation. During winter, body ache gets worsens (cold weather – vata increase – pain increase). So, oil massage helps to relax muscles and relieve aches and pains.
Nights are longer during winter
As the nights are longer, person feels hungry early in the morning.
So, after attending to morning ablutions, one should resort to Abhaynga (oil massage) with oils that have Vata balancing properties.
Oil massage should be done at least once a week, if not everyday.
Oils for massage
Choicest oils for full body massage:
- Sesame oil
- Sesame oil + olive oil + almond oil
- Mahanarayana taila
- Mahamasha taila
- Ksheerabala taila
- Dhanwantari taila
- Balaswagandhadi taila etc
Palm massage – once in a while it is best to undergo just dry palm massage. It helps to keep good blood circulation to hands and legs.
Oil massage to head is highly recommended to avoid dry scalp, dandruff, hair fall, headaches, worsening of migraine etc, which are quite common during winter.
Massage should be done especially to scalp and forehead as well.
Mild massaging, wrestling till one’s half strength and deep massage of the body is recommended.
So oil application is recommended before physical exercise.
This relieves skin dryness and muscle and joint stiffness.
It makes exercising easier
After exercise, deep massage is done again to relieve stiffness and to improve blood circulation.
After massage, the oil is washed off with astringent powders and bathing. Then fine powder of Saffron, Agaru (Aquilaria agallocaha) and musk is applied.
The body is exposed to the fumes of aguru (Aquilaria agallocha).
Murdhni taila – oil application to head
- To relieve dryness of hair
- Sesame oil based hair oils are better than coconut oil based hair oils.
- Sesame oil – hot, Vata balancing
- Coconut oil – cold, may worsen cough, cold, skin and hair dryness
Ideal hair oils
Just to shrug of excess coldness and to balance out scarcity of sunlight, it is best to undergo sweating treatment once in a while. This can be in the form of small wood fire, or hot water bath.
- Jentaka Sweda – a type of sweating therapy where one resides in an underground home
- Aggressive steaming therapy with whole body sweating.
- To relieve muscle stiffness,
- As a weight loss remedy (one usually consumes high amount of food during winter)
- To relieve toxins
- In ancient times, fine powder of Saffron and kasthuri (musk) is applied.
- Any safe perfume is good to use (preferably over cloth than directly on the skin (body spray))
- Keeps the mind and body fresh and active
- The body is exposed to the fumes of
- Aguru (Aquilaria agallocha) – Agarwood,
- Triphala – Amla, Haritaki, Vibhitaki
- Banyan tree root / bark
- Black gram
- Sesame seed powder
- Usheera – Khas grass – Vetiveria zizanioides etc.
Fumigation of body
- To get rid of remnant massaged oil on the body after massage
- To improve breathing,
- Useful in cough, cold, allergies which are common in winters
- Especially useful after cold water bath
Sunlight: Whenever you get a chance, expose your skin to sunlight and restore back Vitamin D.
Avoid exposure to wind.
Bedding: One should ensure that conveyance, bedding and seats are well covered with heavy wrappers, silk cloth, ropes and blankets. One should wear heavy and warm clothes.
Thick sheet made of cotton, leather, silk, wool or bark of trees that are light in weight should be used during sleep.
Sex: Because of best of health and strength during winter, one can indulge in sexual activity on daily basis, or as per one’s liking.
Foot wear should be worn always. One of the reasons for increased hip and leg pain during winter is constant cold exposure of feet. This increases Vata drastically, worsening the pain. Hence, always wear a footwear, even at home.
Dry skin during winter:
Dryness is a Vata quality. Increase in dryness in skin is due to Vata dosha imbalance. Coldness is again another Vata quality. Coldness of winter leads to increase in skin dryness. Hence, special care is needed to relieve dry skin
Remedy for dry skin
Take Eladi Tailam (herbal oil) – apply few drops of it to the dry skin parts of the body, 10 minutes before bath.
Or Vata massage oil is excellent for dry skin.
Have more of food rich in Vitamin E –
Sunflower seed, almond, pine nuts, peanuts, spinach, taro root, flaxseed oil, soyabean, pistachio. Broccoli, carrots, chard, mustard and turnip greens, mangoes, nuts, papaya, pumpkin, red peppers
Ghee or coconut oil
Include a bit of ghee in your diet. It helps to balance Vata and imparts oiliness to the skin. Oiliness is the opposing quality to dryness. Hence, ghee helps to relieve dryness.
During night, before going to sleep, apply a bit of ghee or coconut oil to the dry parts of the body. They (anyone), not only soothe your skin, but also improve shine and complexion.
Persons who spend their time residing in houses kept warm by fire, in inner most apartment encircled with others, or in underground chambers, will not be affected by diseases due to cold and dryness.
Atapa – exposure to sunlight – to open up closed body channels, to relieve stiffness
One should ensure that conveyance, bedding and seats are well covered with heavy wrappers, leather, silk cloth, ropes and blankets. One should wear heavy and warm clothes
Common ailments and treatment
- Kapha -due to Sheeta guna (coldness), and
- Vata-due to Sheeta – cold (cold) and rookshata (dryness)
- Both K and V are aggravated and hence 2/3 of population is badly affected by cold season!
Cough and cold remedies
- Ginger tea – Ginger (1 tsp) + 1 cup of water -> boil and evaporate to quarter a cup -> filter
- Tulsi tea
- Use of black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, basil, cumin seeds in diet
- Sitopaladi Churna
- Talisadi Churna
- Herbal cough syrups – Honitus, Septillin, Cofavin, Bresol etc.
Herbal jams like
Chyawanprash – 1 teaspoon with warm water, before food
Agastya Hareetaki Rasayana – sinusitis, cough, asthma
Amritarishta – fever and cold
Pippalyasava – cold, low digestion strength
Kanakasava – asthma, cold, sinusitis
Dashamoolarishta – cold, cough, fever
Have 10 ml of ghee with a pinch of black pepper, along with warm water, preferably early in the morning, on empty stomach. It relieves skin dryness and also internal dryness. This is not ideal if you have cough, cold, fever or digestion problems
- Apply plain ghee or sesame oil over the parts which are usually getting dried or gets cracks.
- Take 30 ml (one ounce) of neem oil, to it add 90 ml (three ounce)of sesame oil. Mix well. to this add one teaspoon of each of turmeric powder, neem powder, 3 – 4 small boiled aloe vera pieces, sandalwood powder and mix well. This can be applied on daily basis. (not all the powders are very essential.)
- If it is associated with burning sensation, then the same combination can be made with ghee in place of neem oil and sesame oil.
Cracked lips during winter – remedies
- Kumkumadi taila
- Eladi taila
- Nalpamaradi taila
- Herbal balm –
- Mix 10 grams of bee wax + 60 ml sesame oil. Heat it together. When it is cooling down, add turmeric, sandalwood powder, Manjishta – Rubia cordifolia, neem etc.
Mix thoroughly. Add almond oil / olive oil – few drops.
- Semi solid cream is prepared. Apply it over the cracked and dry parts.
Oils – to retain moisture and to relieve dryness
Application of moisturizing substances which are suitable to ones constitution preferably which retains moisture for prolonged period without disturbing the texture of the skin.
•Eladi oil or Kumkumadi oil – a few drops applied over face / whole body acts as good moisturizer. These oils relieve skin and lip dryness.
Panchakarma during winter
- Chaya – mild increase during Varsha – Rainy sesaon
- Prakopa – aggravation – Sharat – autumn
- Decreases in Hemanta. (first part of winter season).
- So, if aggravated Pitta remains aggravated even in winter, then Virechana (purgation therapy) is administered. (Sushruta, Sutrasthana 6th chapter)
Digestion strength in winter
Pitta is getting low during first part of winter, but how digestion strength is more? is it not contradicting?
- Varsha – rainy season – Pitta is slightly increasing.
- Sharath (Autumn season) – Pitta aggravates heavily
- Hemantha Rutu (1st half of winter) – The aggravated Pitta is calming down to normalcy.
- So, it is not like, normal Pitta, going further down.
- It is like, previously aggravated Pitta is coming back to its normalcy -> Good healthy Pitta -> Good digestion strength.
- Ashtanga Hrudaya Sutrasthana 3rd chapter
- Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 6th chapter
- Sushruta Samhita Sutrasthana 6th chapter
Hemanta Rutu Charya
Hemanta Rutu Charya – Early winter regimen
Heavy foods should be consumed. Since there is cold in atmosphere, heat will be conserved in body. There will be severe appetite due to increase in digestive fire. If light food is taken in small quantities, intensive digestive fire will burn body tissues for want of energy since fuel in form of sufficient food is not provided in accordance to intense fire and hunger.
Kapha increases and pitta diminishes in this season. Therefore choice of food and lifestyle activities should be wisely done so as to balance these doshas. Water, food and medicines have sweet after taste, unctuousness, cold and heavy properties and tend to increase kapha in body. They shall be avoided.
One should consume and follow below mentioned foods and activities –
- Flesh of water animals, carnivorous animals and animals residing in burrows with sweet seedhu i.e. fermented preparation and honey
- Milk, sugarcane juices and sugarcane products
- Body and head massage
- Wrestling, hot water bath
- Application of anointment made up of kumkuma and kasturi, fumigation with agaru
- Light and warm clothing
- Exposure to morning sun rays
- Living in rooms heated with room heaters
Shishira Rutu Charya
Shishira Rutu Charya – Later winter regimen
This season is colder and rains will be present along with cold winds. Other characters are similar to early winter. Seasonal regimen will be similar to regimen explained in early winter.
Added by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Category of Hemanta season
Hemanta Rtu (early winter) is the last season of the Visarga Kala or Dakshinayana (Southern Solstice). Early winter occupies the last two months of this solstice.
Features of Early Winter
Common features of southern solstice
Common for all seasons of Southern Solstice
In this season, like any other season of Southern Solstice, the Sun moves southwards. This season gives strength to the person owing to reduced heat. There is increase in watery ingredients, fluidity and strength of plants and living beings. Moon is predominant in this season.
Winds are not dry and fierce but the moon is powerful than the Sun. There is unctuousness and moistness in the atmosphere.
Sour, salt and sweet tastes are predominant in the food, plants, water and medicines. These three taste increase strength and are opposite to the effects of wind and fire or vata and pitta. These tastes enhance the water content of the body and keep the body hydrated.
Specific features of early winter season
Zodiac / Rasi of the Sun in Early Winter –
Scorpio (Vrischika Rasi) and Sagittarius (Dhanus Rasi) are the Zodiacs which fall into the early winter.
Hindu Months (Saka varsa / masa) which constitute early winter – According to Hindu calendar, Margashira (Saha) month which extends from November 15 to December 15 and Pushya (Sahasya) month which extends from December 15 to January 15, fall in early winter.
Calendar month and time period of early winter –
Hemanta Rtu (early winter) falls between November 15 and January 15.
Dosha status in early winter –
In early winter, accumulation of kapha takes place. At same time the pitta gets subsided in this season.
Strength (bala) of the person in early winter –
The person is said to have very good strength in early winter season.
Predominant taste of early winter –
Sweet taste is the predominant taste of early winter. This taste is made up of earth and water elements. Sweet taste bestows good strength to the person in this season due to its elemental makeup. Therefore one should consume foods predominant in sweet taste in this season.
Climate in early winter
- In early winter one can experience cold with in the northern direction comprising of smoke and dust all around.
- The Sun is covered with mist. The Sun rays are mild due to the presence of mist and ice in the atmosphere.
- The lakes, ponds, tanks etc water reservoirs are covered with ice.
- The birds like crow, animals like rhinoceros, horses, buffalos, monkey etc get wild and agitated. This is also the season for mating of animals.
- In early winter, there is flowering of Lodhra i.e. Symplocos racemosa, Priyangu i.e. Callicarpa macrophylla and Nagakeshara i.e. Mesua ferrea trees.
- Medicines grown during this season will have good potency.
- The water in early winter will be clean, unctuous and heavy.
- The medicines and water will have sweet after taste. They have unctuousness, cold and heavy qualities in them as an impact of climate. Therefore these produce kapha accumulation in Hemanta season.
Regimen in Early Winter
Since it is winter and there is accumulation of kapha in early winter, all regimens would be targeted to see that the kapha vitiation does not take place and kapha disorders are not produced. All food and life activities are planned accordingly.
Food should be taken in right quantity and right time –
In early winter season, the heat of the body is conserved inside and is constricted. This happens due to defence mechanism against prevailing cold in the atmosphere. This leads to increase in digestive fire located in the belly (stomach) consequentially leading to more hunger. To combat this situation, one should eat heavy, yet digestible foods, frequently. This depends on the quantum of one’s hunger according to basic physical constitution and differs from person to person. If heavy foods are not taken in early winter, the enhanced digestive fire will consume and burn away all the body tissues and use them as fuel in the absence of food.
In early winter, people feel hungry early in the morning itself. This happens due to longer nights in early winter. Therefore, after daily regimen, one should take unctuous foods and foods rich in sweet, salt and sour tastes. These foods will balance the hunger and doesn’t allow the appetite to go severe and weird.
Activities and therapies –
One should undergo the below mentioned activities and therapies for maintaining the health in early winter season. These will also prevent the seasonal disorders which are prone to occur in this season.
- Complete body massage including head massage with medicated oils prepared with vata alleviating herbs should be done.
- Wrestling with experts who have gained expertise in the same is advised.
- Padaghata i.e. massage of the body of the afflicted using the foot of the physician or masseur is comforting.
- After having undergone massage and padaghata, to remove the oil over the body one should use the powders of herbs having astringent taste.
- After the unctuousness of the body is removed, one shall have hot water bath.
- After hot water bath, one should thoroughly wipe the body until dry. The dry body should be the paste of kumkuma, kasturi etc should be applied and also fumigated with agaru.
- One should use heavy clothing like rugs, silk, dear’s skin etc as bedding. For covering the body, light but warm clothes shall be used.
- One should get exposed to the early morning rays of sun. Other types of sudation therapies can also be tried.
- One should always wear footwear wherever he goes.
- To get rid of the coldness, one should embrace his beloved woman having well developed breasts and her body being smeared with paste of agaru.
- One should reside in warm rooms made hot by heating. Alternatively one may prefer staying in underground houses. Both these forms of stays keep one away from excessive cold and avoid aggravation of doshas. This will keep the seasonal disorders of early winter at bay.
Managing Rtu Sandhi of Early Winter
Each season runs for 2 months, early winter too. Rtu Sandhi is junction period between two seasons and runs for 14 days.
Early winter season shares two season junctions, one with its previous season and the other with its succeeding season.
Read – Ritu Sandhi – Seasonal Junction, Meaning, Rules To Follow, Precautions
Seasonal junction with autumn season i.e. previous season, the Sharad-Hemanta Rtu Sandhi
The immediate previous season for Hemanta Rtu is Sharad Rtu i.e. autumn season. This is the second season of Southern Solstice. The seasonal junction between autumn and early winter season comprises of the last 7 days of autumn season and first 7 days of early winter season. In this period, the regimens of autumn season should gradually be discontinued and the regimens of early winter season should be gradually practised.
Seasonal junction with late winter season i.e. upcoming season, the Hemanta-Shishita Rtu Sandhi
Immediate next season for Hemanta Rtu is Shishira Rtu, i.e. late winter. This is also the first season of Northern Solstice. The seasonal junction of early winter is the last 7 days of this season along with the first 7 days of late winter put together. In this period, the regimens of early winter should gradually be discontinued and the regimens of late winter gradually practiced and adapted. This enables one to get ready to enter into another season and get adapted to it easily. Sudden change in regimes may produce many diseases due to asatmya i.e. incompetence. Therefore the changes need to be done gradually.
Shishira Rtucharya (Late winter)
Category of Shishira season
Shishira Rtu (late winter) is the first season of the Adana Kala or Uttarayana (Northern Solstice). It is preceded by Hemanta Rtu (early winter), which happens to be the last season of Visarga Kala (Southern solstice) and followed by Vasanta Rtu (spring season).
Features of Late Winter
Common features of Northern Solstice
In this season, like any other season of Northern Solstice, the Sun moves northwards. It is said that the Sun has ascent. This season takes away the strength of the person owing to increasing heat and depletion of water components of the body. This season reduces the mild qualities from Earth and takes away the strength of the human beings, hence depleting their strength and energy.
Sun is predominant in this season. Intensity of heat is more. Wind is very dry in nature.
Seasons falling in this solstice, i.e. in late winter, spring and summer seasons, bitter, astringent and pungent tastes are predominant. These tastes are predominantly present in the food, plants, water and medicines. These three tastes always tend to induce excessive dryness in the body. When, due to the impact of dry season and consumption of these drying tastes i.e. foods and medicines rich in these drying tastes, there is increased dryness in the body due to depletion of water components of the body, there will be natural and consequent reduction of strength of the body.
Specific features of late winter
Zodiac / Rasi of the Sun in Late Winter
Capricorn (Makara Rasi) and Acquires (Kumbha Rasi) are the Zodiacs which fall into the early winter.
Hindu Months (Saka varsa / masa) which constitute later winter According to Hindu calendar, Magha (Tapa) month which extends from January 15 to February 15 and Phalguna (Tapasya) month which extends from February 15 to March 15, fall in late winter.
Calendar month and time period of late winter
Shishira Rtu (late winter) falls between January 15 and March 15.
Dosha status in late winter
In late winter, accumulation of kapha takes place.
Strength (bala) of the person in late winter
Person is said to have alpa bala (less strength) in late winter season.
Predominant taste of late winter
Bitter taste is predominant in late winter. This taste is made up of space element. Since this taste is drying in nature and the foods and medicines of this season are predominant in bitter taste, they induce dryness in the body of the person. This leads to loss of strength.
The season belonging to Summer Solstice, will be predominant in dryness and towards the end of late winter, the spring season sets in. Naturally the heat will be more than in Southern solstice. On the other hand, the foods and medicines having bitter taste will be antagonistic to kapha, which tends to accumulate in this season. Since this taste is anti-kapha, these foods and medicines may be judiciously consumed to keep kapha in control.
Climate in late winter
Since Shishira (late winter) is also a part of winter, the season is said to be almost similar to Hemanta Rtu (early winter). But since this season i.e. late winter belongs to Northern Solstice, dryness of the climate and loss of strength will gradually increase in this season against unctuousness and gain in strength in early winter.
But since late winter is a continuation of early winter, for most of the features are as similar as early winter. Season is dry and is marked with deterioration of strength as compared to early winter, but it is not as severe as other seasons of Northern Solstice (spring and summer seasons).
Regimen in Late Winter
The regimen of late winter is said to be almost similar to that of early winter. Therefore, the same dietetic and lifestyle regimens as explained in Hemanta Rtu (early winter) shall be followed in Shishira Rtu (late winter season) too.
Managing Rtu Sandhi of Early Winter
Each season runs for 2 months. The late winter too runs to a period of 2 months. Rtu Sandhi is junction period between two seasons and constitutes a time period of 14 days.
Seasonal junction with early winter i.e. previous season, the Hemanta-Shishira Rtu Sandhi
The immediate previous season for Shishira Rtu is Hemanta Rtu i.e. early winter season. This is the last season of Southern Solstice. The seasonal junction between early winter and late winter season comprises of last 7 days of early winter and first 7 days of late winter season. In this period, the regimens of early winter should gradually be discontinued and the regimens of late winter season should be gradually practiced.
Seasonal junction with spring season i.e. upcoming season, the Shishira-Vasanta Rtu Sandhi
The immediate next season for Shishira Rtu is Vasanta Rtu, i.e. spring season. This is the second season of Northern Solstice. The seasonal junction of later winter is the last 7 days of this season along with the first 7 days of spring season put together. In this period, the regimens of late winter should gradually be discontinued and the regimens of spring season gradually practiced and adapted. This enables one to get ready to enter into another season and get adapted to it easily. Sudden change in regimes may produce many diseases due to asatmya i.e. incompetence. Therefore the changes need to be done gradually.
Opinion of Sushruta
Climate during Winter:
During winter, cold wind blows from the north, the quarters (space around) are full of dust and smoke, the sun rays are hindered by fog, reservoirs of water are covered with mist; crow, rhinoceros, buffalo, camel and elephants are joyous; rodhra, priyangu and punnaga trees bloom.
Dosha in Winter season:
During Winter season, the plants undergo change in their potency, because of change of time (seasons) and become powerful; water becomes clear, unctuous, and very heavy (difficult for digestion); by the use of these (plants and water) because of mild rays of the sun, snowfall and cold wind, these become very poorly digested and by their unctuousness, cold, heaviness and stickiness, give rise to sanchaya (mild increase) of Kapha.
Tips to beat the winter blues
By Dr.M.S. Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD
Cracked feet, dry palms, dry, cracked lips, stiff, twitching of the fingers, joint pain, muscle crams shivering, shrinking of the skin or sensation of the dust over the face, increased itching, cold infection are a few gifts that winter brings with it.
Important to understand here the fact that both Kapha -due to Sheeta guna (coldness), and Vata-due to Sheeta(cold) and rookshata (dryness) are aggravated and hence 2/3 of population is badly affected by cold season!
Here two simple line of treatments are referred which are helpful to face the problems as well as to relieve from the seasonal complaints-
1.Keeping the body warm by suitable internal and external measures
2. Application of moisturizing substances which are suitable to ones constitution preferably which retains moisture for prolonged period without disturbing the texture of the skin. Eladi oil or Kumkumadi oil – a few drops applied over face / whole body acts as good moisturizer. These oils relieve skin and lip dryness.
3. Oil massage for body pain:
Apply mustard oil (or any suitable medicated oil like Kottamchukkadi taila, Dhanvantara taila, Dashamoola taila etc) all over the body; if possible daily or else at least once in a week. Later have hot water bath.
4. Take warm and fresh decoction of Dashamoola or Herbal tea made of ginger and pepper twice daily, preferably after food. It will boost digestion strength and also relieves cough and cold. A teaspoon of total of ginger and black pepper powder, mixed in a cup of water, boiled and reduced to half a cup. Filtered and consumed.
5. Have 10 ml of ghee with a pinch of salt along with large amount of warm water, preferably early in the morning,in empty stomach. It relieves skin dryness and also internal dryness. This is not ideal if you have cough, cold, fever or digestion problems.
6. Apply plain ghee or sesame oil over the parts which are usually getting dried or gets crack.
7. Take any of the rejuvenation remedies like Chyavanaprasha, Agasthya rasayana, Bharngi guda, Amalaki rasayana, Dashamoola rasayana etc 8-10 gram preferably early in the evening or in nights, after food.
8. In case if you are tired very often or developing cramps, 2-3 gram each of salt and ghee are added to rice or wheat gruel and consumed once in a day.
Otherwise lukewarm Kichdi can be taken.
9. Long pepper or black pepper should be used instead of chilly powder in the preparation of side dishes, soup and sambar/curries.This helps to beat both kapha and Vata.
Feel the pleasure of cold season being warm in mind and body.Face the situation being ready with expectation –is the simple rule of life also!
Click to consult Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu) PhD